My heart's desire or “my fervent wish” and prayer – for Israel or “the Jewish nation” – is that
they “might be saved.” CERTAINLY THIS SHOULD BE OUR DESIRE FOR EVERY PERSON, EVERYWHERE, but in particular those in our sphere of life where we will have the most influence such as relatives, co-workers and everyone we come in contact with through the day and might have an opportunity to share the gospel with. NOTE: TRUE DESIRE PRODUCES ACTION! We say that we really want our unsaved loved ones, co-workers, and etc. to be saved, but do we pray daily for them and speak the words of life to them as opportunity arises?
Consider that Paul is speaking about the Jews who totally rejected Christ as Messiah. Because he goes on to say in verses two and three; “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” The word zeal here is zelos which means fervency. The word translated knowledge here is epignosis which means recognition or discernment. The word righteousness is dikaiosyne which means equity (of character) or righteousness. So Paul is saying that the Jews have a fervency toward God but they don't have discernment or recognition of truth, and so they believe they are righteous by their own understanding but have not actually submitted themselves or humbled themselves to learn what true righteousness is. In the case of the legalistic Pharisees, Saducees and scribes they actually were very fervent in their desire to suppress anything that didn't line up with their teaching. In Matthew 23 Jesus called them “blind leaders of the blind.” NOTE: Paul fully understood what he was saying to them because he lived it. He called himself, a Pharisee of the Pharisees and excelled as a Pharisee!
Verse 3 - The word ignorant is the Greek word agnoeo which mean not knowing or understanding God's grace. Many people misunderstand the word ignorant in our day and take quick offense if you tell them they are ignorant of something. They think you are attacking them and calling them stupid! The fact that they are ignorant of what ignorant really means is proof of their ignorance, or, in other words “not knowing or understanding” something. NOTE: Like the Jews of Paul's day, many in our generation seek to be righteous in themselves and refuse God's way, and this includes both Jews and gentiles. Still yet, many are ignorant of God's way because they never heard it. This responsibility falls at the door of those among us who call ourselves Christians and will follow Christ and speak his word no matter what it may cost them.
The apostle does not say that they could not have known what the plan of God was; for he says,
in Romans 10:18-21 that they had full opportunity of knowing. And careful study of their own Scriptures would have led them to the true knowledge of the Messiah and his righteousness. We can examine that text later as it closes out Romans Chapter 10. NOTE: So in our generation; the gospel is readily available to everyone, and yet many will not seek it out on their own.
IN OUR GENERATION WE HAVE LESS EXCUSE THAN THE JEWS BECAUSE WE HAVE BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS AND TOOLS TO STUDY AND LEARN FROM THE BIBLE ARE ABUNDANT FOR ANY WHO WOULD HAVE A DESIRE TO SEEK OUT THE TRUTH. That is why we, as Christians, have no excuse to not have an answer for those who would seek to hear our “reason for he hope that lies within us.” We have the internet with all the information anyone could ever want and more to increase our knowledge of the word and the
Holy Spirit standing by to teach those who can and will be taught. We have books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, downloads on anything we wish to know or understand and much more. WE ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE! Matthew 5:6 – NOTE: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for THEY SHALL BE FILLED!”
Verse 4 is a wonderful affirmation for us and it was to those who were willing to believe what Paul was teaching! That name above every other name is forcefully shown to be the end of the law and of striving to please God in our own efforts. Paul declares that our righteousness is found only in Him! This is also told in John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and 1 Tim 2:5 as we are told that Jesus is the only way, that his name is the only one under heaven whereby we “must” be saved and that he is the only mediator between God and man. HE IS EXCLUSIVE, AND THAT FACT IS OFFENSIVE TO THOSE WHO ARE RELIGIOUS AND FOLLOW DECEPTIONS THAT OFFER FALSE HOPE WITH NO SUBSTANCE AND NO HOPE OF SALVATION!
Verses 5-8 – Paul refers back to Moses as the lawgiver who describes the righteousness which
is of the law and how the laws became a surety for those who followed it because it gave them hope of reward for their obedience even to the point of producing happiness in this life and in the life to come. Right behind that he brings up the righteousness which comes through faith and
asks “who shall ascend to heaven?” This expression was used among the Jews, to denote any difficult undertaking. To say that it was high as heaven, or that it was necessary to ascend to heaven to understand it, was to express the highest difficulty. This was to show the difficulty of bringing Christ to earth through their efforts. Descending into the deep (Verse 7) expressed another degree of difficulty because he speaks of a depth that cannot be known apart from divine revelation and the equally difficult task of bringing someone (Christ for example) up from the
dead. In verse 8 he reminds them that the teachings of Moses are always near them and are understood by them, and the gospel is also near them and could be just as easily understood as Paul and others were presenting it if the Jews would receive it. NOTE: This was difficult for them because they were used to doing it their way – Like a truck stuck in gear that you can't get to shift.
If you would like to get a feel for what Paul went through, and, you have enough understanding
of God's word to sustain you in what you believe, then invest some time speaking with Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses who are well-grounded in their system of belief and knowledge of the Bible as they understand it.
Verses 9-10 “If” (One of the most powerful little words in existence)! This word never applies to God because all the promises of God are yea and amen! It only applies to man! These verses should need no introduction to anyone who has studied God's word diligently or listened to gospel messages. Somehow in this generation multitudes of Christians have forgotten the first part of verse 9 and excuse themselves from being obedient to it. We make excuses for not proclaiming the glorious truth of the gospel while millions go out into eternity blind to the reality of the salvation they could have if only we would tell them. Now some might say this verse only means that we are to confess with our mouth our need of Christ at salvation and that is enough. I believe it has a dual meaning as many scripture verses do; the second being that we are to confess before the world often that Christ is our only hope of salvation and also theirs. Remember that the scripture tells us “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.” Galatians 1:10 Believing in the heart is essential to salvation. Mere head belief alone will never do! It is when the Holy Spirit moves on us to bring conviction and sorrow for sin that we come with our hearts open to receive the gracious gift of salvation. I have heard some say that they never “felt saved” or they weren't sure if they were saved. I believe with the utmost sincerity that if someone receives salvation through Christ they will know it, and there will be no need to question that salvation. The cheap salvation of “just believe” that is offered people in this generation should give people who have received that message cause to question their salvation. Repentance, godly sorrow and faith will always bring salvation that cannot be easily doubted by the recipient or those who come in contact with the recipient. IT IS A SURE SALVATION THAT
CHRIST GIVES TO US! NOTES Verse 9 shouts out “Thou shalt be saved!”
Verse 10 spells it out clearly. Verse 11 tells us that all that truly believe will have so much assurance that they will never be ashamed. Verse 12 makes it abundantly clear that salvation knows no ethnic boundaries because it is for the Jew and the Greek, and Verse 13 sums it up with the glorious proclamation that “WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED! God's Word is His promise and cannot be denied! NOTE: See also John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9
Verse 14 – 15 – This portion of scripture is very special to me because I have been privileged to have beautiful feet. NO COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY! Preaching the gospel is at once a wonderful experience under the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit and an awesome privilege with great responsibility and accountability. It is to be approached with great reverence and gratitude, and we should be careful that we invest time with God to seek his words and his blessed anointing because to preach in the flesh brings death but to preach with the anointing bring life to those within the sound of the voice of the speaker. I have experienced both ways of preaching and can assure you that I sorely regret ever bringing a message from God through the pulpit without that anointing. It happened once and that was more than enough to wake me up to the foolishness of trying to do God's work in the flesh! NOTE: THE FOUR HOWS: How shall
they call on him whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him of whom they have
not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? AND how shall they preach unless they be sent?
I was able to preach many times because I was sent as verse 15 says, and God's anointing follows his commission to go. To go without that commission is foolish because our work must have God's seal of approval and empowerment on it. We want to do what he is approving not
ask him to approve what we are doing without seeking for his direction and anointing.
Verse 17 is a precious verse because it strongly emphasizes the need to know the word of God. Faith comes by hearing the word of God but it continues on by hearing the word of God over and over again and applying it to our lives. It is very interesting to me that Christ said several times,
“let those who have ears to hear, hear!” We will only grow in grace and our walk as we spend
time in the Word and know the mind of God and as we invest time in His presence seeking the instruction promised that “The Spirit will guide you into ALL truth.” NOTE: John 16:13
Verses 16 and 19-21 are Paul's pronouncement that the Jews always had the gospel coming to them through such men as Isaiah and Moses, and we might add David in Psalms, and also the prophets who declared things about him long before he came to earth and walked among them. Isaiah asked; “Who has believed our report?” He was referring to those people who rejected his Messianic prophesies. Moses foretold how the gospel would be given to the gentiles in verse 19, and in the closing verses of this chapter we see Isaiah frustrated that God had been reaching out to a people who were disobedient and gainsaying or, in other words, people who loved to dispute rather than hear the truth.
IF WE ARE TO PRESENT A GOSPEL THAT BRINGS WITH IT AUTHORITY AND CONVICTION TO THOSE WE SPEAK TO, WE CAN BE SURE THAT WE TOO WILL ENCOUNTER SUCH PEOPLE. We must persist with them while they have breath in their bodies anyway so that some might be saved and live to glorify and honor the Lord Jesus Christ! In so doing we too will bring to our Lord the “reward for his suffering!”
Some seed fell by the wayside – Sown in the heart, not understood and stolen by the wicked one.
Some fell in stony places – Heard and received the word, has no root in himself, endures
for a while, but when tribulation comes is offended.
Some fell among thorns – Hears the word BUT the cares of this life and the deceitfulness
of riches “choke the word” and he becomes unfruitful. TOO BUSY!
Some fell on good ground – Hears, understands in his heart and bears fruit. Some 100 fold, some 60 fold and some 30 fold.
What is the difference in the people in number 4? I believe that it shows the even among this group of followers some are more willing to hear, understand and obey God! I also believe that some are more gifted or have different callings than others. But we are all called to bear fruit.
WE MUST ALL DECIDE FOR OURSELVES WHERE WE STAND! NOBODY CAN DO THAT
C R Lord © 2016